tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 6, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
on our broadcast tonight, on our broadcast tonight, the new deal. word from the white house about a likely new agreement on taxes for all americans and benefits for those out of work. in the balance. women versus walmart and the biggest sex discrimination lawsuit ever. and now the supreme court weighs in. wanted man. there's a report tonight the head of wikileaks may be ready to talk to police, but threatens a world of trouble if he's arrested. the little big pill. it's already called a miracle drug. now there's reason to think it's even better than we first thought. and remembering dandy don. because when he was on, monday nights were mandatory viewing for millions of us.
"nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it's a fair question. for a while now, americans have been wondering how lawmakers in washington could possibly extend tax breaks for wealthy americans while allowing benefits for jobless americans to be cut off. it's all part of the fight between the parties. the president, the republicans, the fight over what the midterm elections meant. they've been talking tonight at the white house where word arrived late in the day of the makings of a deal, and then the president stepped before the cameras. we have it covered with our chief white house correspondent chuck todd. good evening. >> reporter: it's not quite a done deal, but one is close enough that the president himself has talked about the frame work of the deal. take a listen.
>> i have no doubt there are things that not everybody will like, but it's the right thing to do for jobs, for middle class, and it's the right thing to do for our economy. it offers us an opportunity that we need to seize. it's not perfect. but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery. >> reporter: here's the outline of the compromise, brian. a two-year extension of the so-called bush tax cuts or bush tax rates. none of those will go up for anybody, including wealthiest americans. a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits. not just for the month of december this year, all of next year, as well. and then a new twist. a 2 percentage point drop in the payroll taxes, a payroll tax holiday.
a family of four with a household income of $50,000 will sew a $1,000 tax break next year. so this is a new tax cut. the reason we're calling this an imminent deal and not a done deal is that democrats, congressional democrats have not yet signed off on this. republicans have. the white house has. but they're waiting for nancy pelosi and the rest of the democrats, particularly on the house side, to sign off on this deal. when it does, it gets on his desk and what does that mean? clears the decks for a foreign policy victory for the policy, including perhaps ratification of that arms deal with russia, brian. >> one more word on this. the fight has been over anything in government that isn't paid for, anything that cost government more money. >> reporter: brian, none of this is paid for. in terms of lost revenue for the government next year, it's $450 billion. nearly half a trillion dollars. to compare this in comparison,
the stimulus that president obama put in, enacted back in early 2009, that cost on an annual basis, half a trillion dollars. so the deficit in the short term is going up. whether it's on social security or all sorts of things, none of that has been death with, with this plan. >> as we also learn more and more about the rough shape of the economy. chuck, thanks as always. also in washington tonight, the u.s. supreme court has agreed to weigh in on the biggest job discrimination case in american history. this involves walmart employees, past and present, who say the company gave better pay and more promotions to men at the expense of women. walmart says this case is so big, it makes no sense. our justice correspondent pete williams is at the supreme court tonight. pete, good evening. >> reporter: the court has brought this huge discrimination case to a temporary halt while the justices prepare to answer this question.
when it comes to big class action lawsuits, how big is too big? everything about this case is super sized. the nation's largest retailer facing the biggest class action lawsuit ever. hundreds of thousands of women who worked at walmart and sam's club claim the company discriminated against them, giving better pay and bigger promotions to the male employees. betty dukes, a walmart greeter in california, was among the first to sue when this case began nine years ago. >> we had no concept even how to apply for management. no one talked about management in our store. it never was addressed. it was a lot of hoops that you had to go through just to get promoted up into basic positions. >> reporter: but walmart says a class action lawsuit of as many as 1.5 million women suing is too blunt of an instrument to force the company into settlement. with more than 4,000 stores, there's no way a class action case could represent the employment practices of all
those stores and managers. >> a very large class and size isn't the only issue here. it's the diverse nature of the claim. that's what would make it so unfair, to try to try these clams in one fell swoop. >> reporter: the u.s. chamber of commerce hope the court will use the case to put limits on class action suits which they claim have become abusive. but lawyers who have handled big discrimination cases say large class action lawsuits are sometimes the only way to get leverage against corporations when they violate civil rights. >> the playing field is not level if one individual has to go up against walmart. but if an entire class can proceed against walmart, it levels the playing field, it makes it a fair playing field. >> reporter: this stops the case in its tracks and may delay other big class action lawsuits while the court sorts out the rules for deciding when they're too big, brian. >> pete williams at the court building tonight in washington. pete, thanks. there is news tonight from
north carolina about elizabeth edwards. specifically her six-year fight against breast cancer. we learned today her illness has taken a turn for the worse. the edwards' family released a statement tonight saying her doctors advise that further treatment at this point would be "unproductive." edwards herself posted a message on her facebook page this evening saying in part, the days of our lives for all of us are numbered and expressed love and gratitude to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. it is signed simply with love, elizabeth. we are told elizabeth edwards is resting at home in north carolina tonight, surrounded by caregivers, family and friends. there are new developments tonight in the wikileaks investigation with word that the wanted man at the center of all this, the founder of wikileaks, julian assange, is talking to authorities. but at the same time warning of the havoc that he could unleash
if he is arrested or harmed. we get the latest on all of this from nbc's peter alexander who is at london's scotland yard tonight. peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. tonight, julian assange's lawyer tells nbc news that he and assange are negotiating with british authorities a time and place to meet, perhaps as early as tomorrow, to discuss allegations of sex crimes in sweden. allegations assange denies. it is unclear whether assange will be arrested at the time of that meeting. still, the wikileaks founder has issued a strong new warning. it's become a high stakes international standoff between defiant computer hacker julian assange and the american government. the latest release marked by the government, not for internet distribution, reveals what the state department calls key resources overseas and critical infrastructure, including factories, pipelines and oil terminals. so vital that if they were destroyed, it would affect
the public health, economic security, and/or national or homeland security of the united states. the catalog spans e e obglfrom a mine in the congo to a plant in denmark. as well as the sole provider of snake anti-venom in australia. >> we have a very serious criminal investigation that's underway and we're looking at all the things that we can do to try to stem the flow of this information. >> reporter: facing arrest for the allegations of sexual misconduct, assange is threatening to release what his attorneys refer to as a thermo nuclear device in the electronic age, a secret cache of uncensored documents that assange says he will exposed if he's arrested or his website shut down. he told online readers of a british newspaper he's distributed heavily encrypted files, believed to include documents on bp, bank of america and guantanamo bay to more than 100,000 people worldwide. they're coded for now, but assange warned if something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. one file is named "insurance"
locked by a 256-digit password. this evening, his attorney was more measured. >> there's been no implied threat in relation to the swedish arrest warrant. wikileaks is an organization of many thousands of journalists across the planet and a scheduled release of information from the bank of cables will continue. >> reporter: assange is being isolated physically and electronically, with the swiss bank the latest institution to freeze assets or block donations to wikileaks. the site servers have been shut down in the u.s. and france, but hundreds of mirror sites set up by wikileaks supporters have popped up online. also tonight, nbc news has learned that jihadists with al qaeda have begun a discussion on how to use the latest wikileaks information to exploit u.s. security vulnerabilities. brian? >> thanks for that report tonight from london. back in this country, we still haven't finished the first
full week in december and the winter weather is coming as a bit of a shock. a huge stretch of the american south is dealing with some real cold. florida dealing with an ice cold blast of canadian air. our own kerry sanders is with us from plant city, florida, where a lot of valuable crops and products are at risk tonight. kerry, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. florida farmers are watching these freeze warnings very closely tonight. here in central florida, the strawberry growers say if the temperature hits about 28 degrees, it will make the strawberries sweeter. but any lower than that, it could ruin the crop. florida's winter strawberry crop began to ripen just a week ago. now there's a race to pick every ripe strawberry before the freeze. the plan, to sprinkle the field with water, creating a blanket of ice. that will keep the unpicked berries at a constant 32
degrees. >> what we going to save tonight is what we're going to pick in two to three weeks. >> reporter: florida strawberries and citrus are valued at more than $1.4 billion. residents across the state are pulls out the winter wear. tourists who traveled to florida on vacation are getting an unwelcomed cold shoulder. at miami's metro zoo, exotic cold blooded animals are sleeping indoors tonight and orangutans are getting blankets to keep them warm in the frigid temperatures. wild animal experts are worried what the weather will do to manatees. a record number have already died in too cold waters this year. this cold blast is supposed to last two case and forecasters say it could be colder tomorrow night. brian. >> kerry sanders in florida tonight. kerry, thanks. the other big piece of the weather story, the lake-effect snow here in the northeast. they're talking about the great lakes when they say that, but today, that snow stretched as far east as the new york city
area, where they're really getting it good tonight is erie, p.a., and that means mike seidel must be there. and he is. mike, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it's been doing this all day, snowing and blowing, whiteouts, swirling snow. and as a result, we've seen a lot of snow here in northwest p.a. as much as 20 inches on the ground already. temperatures in the mid 20s, so it's a very fly dry, fluffy snow. it's being picked up and blown around and drifted. many are slowing down on the highways. but interstate 90, which was shut down last week near buffalo is open tonight. it is the perfect setup, a big storm over eastern canada, swirling down cold air over the warmer lakes. lake temperatures are 20, 30 degrees warmer, and you end up with lake-effect snow. you can add 10 to 15 inches more on the pile in syracuse and
erie. if this is a typical season, brian, the snow in these parking lots will be here well into march. back to you. >> mike, i see that's krispy kreme donuts. you best get in there. i know they have hot coffee. thanks for your service to us, mike see deal in erie, p.a. tonight. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, it's known as the wonder drug. is there yet another reason, however, to consider taking an aspirin every day? later, a star on the football field and later in all of our living rooms. remembering the man we called dandy don. rooms. remembering the man we called dandy don. if you live for performance, upgrade to castrol edge advanced synthetic oil. with eight times better wear protection than mobil 1. castrol edge. it's more than just oil. it's liquid engineering.
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you and me both. if copd is still making it hard to breathe, ask your doctor if including advair will help improve your lung function for better breathing. get your first full prescription free and save on refills. in the advertisements for aspirin, on this and other broadcasts, they for years have called it a wonder drug, and a good many doctors believe it is something of a wonder. millions of people take a half aspirin every day, for example, for heart health. now comes a new study that shows aspirin may be much more effective than anyone knew at helping prevent cancer deaths. our report tonight from our chief science correspondent robert bazell.
>> you need to do the preventative things that you need to do for your heart health. >> reporter: for years, the ads have called it the wonder drug that works wonders. science has proven that a low dose aspirin tablet reduces the risk of heart disease and suggests it might lower colon cancer risk, as well. now a study from british doctors suggest it may also cut deaths for many other cancers. >> i think it's very important. the compelling evidence is vitally important in our effort to prevent the burden of cancer in this country. >> reporter: british researchers examined eight studies with a total of more than 25,000 patients. they concluded that in addition to colon cancer, a daily low dose of aspirin reduced the death rate from es sof gus, stomach, lung and prostate cancers and they hypothesized that taking aspirin daily could reduce the overall cancer death rate by as much as 30% over a 20-year period.
>> we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer. so it makes sense that aspirin is an antiinflammatory. >> reporter: there are two reasons for caution about this study. in some people, regular aspirin use leads to stomach bleeding. a serious side effect. also, this research is an analysis of other studies. more research will be needed before these results are widely accepted. because of the known benefits of daily low dose aspirins, most experts already suggest that people have a conversation with their doctor about whether it's a good idea to take it. this latest study might make the benefits seem stronger, brian, it's still that conversation with your doctor. >> that's right. but potentially incredible news. bob bazell, as always, thanks. up next here as we continue, the u.s. treasury has made a $100 billion mistake. $100 billion mistake. [ male announcer ] how can rice production in india
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change your oil to castrol gtx high mileage. its more than just oil. it's liquid engineering. but i wasn't winning any ribbons managing my diabetes. it was so complicated. there was a lot of information out there. but it was frustrating trying to get the answers i needed. then my company partnered with unitedhealthcare. they provided onsite screenings, healthy cooking tips. that's a recipe i'm keeping. ( announcer ) turning complex data into easy tools. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. our friends at cnbc broke this story today. a big embarrassing expensive mistake for the u.s. treasury department. they rolled out a new harder to counterfeit bill. last spring that was. but apparently the fancy design was too complicated. government printers have made a mess of a lot of them and now
$110,000 billion worth of the new $100 bills are sitting in warehouses. a waste of money in more ways than one. the treasury says the bad one also be separated out and shredded. a funny thing happened to president obama last night during his speech to kennedy center honorees who were gathered in the east room of the white house, he had some real trouble getting it out. >> the sup -- let me start that over. to many people, the sup- -- the super -- superfluous -- it's this lip. you try it when you have had 12 stitches. >> he reminded everybody he's still injured from taking an elbow to the lip on the basketball court ten days ago. the audience took it in good humor.
we saw this great photo today. this is an animal researcher dressed as a panda, gathering up a panda cub into a plastic box so that it can be cared for by a vet. this happened in china at the giant panda conservation center. could you blame the young panda for blocking up and thinking i haven't seen this person before at any of our family gatherings. but evidently, the handlers put on the suit any time they are around the animals as to not spook them or stress them. china is trying to reintroduce pandas back into the wild. still to come, remembering a man who made monday nights just dandy. onday nights just dandy. that my chronic bronchitis was copd... i started managing it every day. i like to volunteer...
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field. we learned today don meredith has died and tonight our own mike taibbi has a look back. >> reporter: a college star at southern methodist university, he was the first big name signed by what came to be known as america's team, the dallas cowboys. but if dandy don meredith never won a super bowl, his outside personality got him to a lofty perch in the history of the game. current cowboys owner jerry jones. >> that personality really is a part of what makes the nfl, not just the dallas cowboys. >> reporter: and then for 12 years after his playing days were done, meredith was part of a broadcast team for abc's "monday night football." for much of that broadcast's heyday, meredith was the knowledgeable court jester. the folksy counterpoint to frank gifford and howard cosell. >> i didn't know you cared. >> reporter: it made for sometimes riveting television.
made meredith and the troupe broadcasters rock stars and introduced a new way to market sports on television. >> they had to be entertaining when the game wasn't. >> movie attendance dropped on monday nights. restaurant attendance dropped on monday nights. it became a national phenomenon. of her >> reporter: a long-time friend deaths told nbc news he had suffered injure yis including concussions in his playing days that plagued him long after his playing days after age 31. but he didn't talk about that in his days as a commercial pitchman. he just kept rolling out the public personality that matched his private character. funny, irrereverent, an everyman kind of winner. >> his contribution was to compelling, that the fact he didn't win a super bowl didn't diminish his stature at all.
>> reporter: and it didn't keep him from becoming an athlete celebrity far past the sport. mike taibbi mike taibbi, nbc news, new york. that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being here with us as we begin a new week. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com the opponents and the arguments the same, but the legal wrangling surrounding prop 8 continues to evolve tonight. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm tom sinkovitz. today both sides faced off in court once again. this time to appeal a federal judge's decision that declared